Andrea
Andrea  
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 Romany was never spoken in our house, my parents wanted us to speak Czech properly. So apart from a few phrases and words which weíve picked up from Nana and Grandpa, I donít know Romany. But I really like languages, so six months ago when I saw a course in Romany being offered on the telly, I decided to go for it. Iíve also applied for courses being run by a local Roma organisation Ė itís great, and Iím beginning to understand through the language and the culture, why Iím different to other people in some respects. As well as that loads of people go to the course who are Roma and have the same experiences as me, and that helps a lot.

These days not many Roma kids speak Romany. Thatís partly because the communists did their best to assimilate us, to squeeze us in with the rest. Roma culture was repressed and banned, along with everything linked with it. Romany has always been passed down orally rather than in writing, and during those years, when we were prevented from speaking it, it completely disappeared in loads of families. And with it went loads of traditions and customs which were important for the Roma. I think itís a terrible shame, and I reckon that it is this loss of Roma identity and the feeling of security which goes with it which sapped many Roma of the desire to change, to achieve something.

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